Staff at HMRC investigated over collapsed trial

Staff at HMRC investigated over collapsed trial

Police body looks into Customs officials for the first time under new powers

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking into the behaviour of
six Customs officials involved in a collapsed £100m VAT fraud trial.

The investigation is the first inquiry into the newly merged HM Revenue
& Customs department, for which the IPCC now has responsibility.

Amerdeep Somal, the IPCC commissioner, said the inquiry she was overseeing
was studying the actions of Customs officers and staff criticised by Mr Justice
Crane, the trial judge.

He said Customs officers had withheld evidence from defence lawyers and even
their own barrister, which showed some witnesses could not be relied on to tell
the truth, the FT reports.

The trial related to cross-border trading of mobile phones in a carousel
fraud-type operation.

The IPCC inquiry, likely to last several months, involves a team of eight led
by a retired senior Customs officer and including specialist investigators from
the public and private sectors.

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